Posts tagged "what is writing"

The Hero’s Journey: Initiation Part 3: The Ordeal


The hero is now about to encounter The Ordeal, and he’s standing right in the belly of The Inmost Cave. Here he will face the biggest challenge in the course of his journey.

The Ordeal

The Ordeal is the main event of the story, and a heightened point in the hero’s character arc where he transcends who he once was, and truly grows.

Death and Rebirth

Death and Rebirth is the primary point of The Ordeal. The concept is simple: The Hero has to die in order to be reborn. In some way, the hero should face death or something similar to it. This might include the end of a relationship, the death of personality, or the loss of a job.

The hero should survive this death and become literally or symbolically reborn. After this point, the hero will have passed his final test, and he can receive the reward.


After the hero experiences The Ordeal, he will come home a changed man. No hero can come so close to death without being changed in some way.


Placement of The Ordeal depends on the storyteller. The most common placement is towards the middle of the story, but it may also be placed near the end. It’s completely a matter of choice.


A witness (or witnesses) is often involved with the death and rebirth process. This witness should see the death of the hero (or what appears to be the hero’s death), momentarily mourn, and then celebrate when he sees the hero rise again.

These witnesses are solely for the audience, so they can identify, and feel the pain of death with them.


The death of the hero should have an emotional impact on the audience. The thought of the hero’s death will depress the audience, and bring them down for a moment. When they find that the hero ]has survived, their emotion will skyrocket upward. They will feel elated and satisfied, if the “death and rebirth” sequence is done correctly.

The Opponent

The Ordeal often involves facing an opposing force, usually in battle. This opposing force could be a villain, or it could even be a force of nature. This force should represent some of the hero’s fears and unlikable qualities.

Death of the Opponent

Sometimes, in the hero’s symbolic “death and rebirth”, the villain (or opponent/opposing force) will actually die. In this case, the hero will likely have to deal with other opposing forces on the road home.

Escape of the Opponent

Sometimes, the opponent will escape and have to be dealt with later, usually towards the end of the story.

For more information, try reading:

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition


Joseph Campbell – The Hero’s Journey

Share This Post

7 comments - What do you think?
Posted by forgotmypen - May 6, 2012 at 3:17 am

Categories: Character Development, Story Development   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Hero’s Journey: Departure Part 4: Meeting with the Mentor


The mentor represents a wise figure whose purposes include protecting, teaching, testing, guiding, and training the hero. In meeting with the mentor, he provides the hero with something he needs to take on the Hero’s Journey, sometimes multiple times. In meeting with the mentor, the hero gains the knowledge, confidence, and supplies that he needs in order to start the adventure.

Meeting with the Mentor

There are a lot of stories that tell of the relationship between the hero and the mentor. Mentor’s hold a vital force during the key moments of the hero’s story.

Sources of Wisdom

In some cases, there may not be a specific character playing the role of the mentor. If this is the case, the hero almost always needs to find some source of wisdom before he takes on the adventure. This may involve the hero finding wisdom within himself, or they may simply consult a map of the adventure. Either way, your hero will (or should) want to know exactly what he’s taking on.

Avoiding the Cliched Mentor

The mentor archetype is a character that the audience will be extremely familiar with. The mentor appears in dozens upon dozens of stories. For this reason, it’s very easy to let your mentor become cliche, or fall into a stereotype. So, defy the typical archetype. Don’t allow your mentor to become a fairy godmother, or an old man in a pointy hat. Make your mentor completely out of the norm, or do without him altogether and see what happens.

Conflict Between Hero and Mentor

If the hero is ungrateful, or prone to violence, the relationship between the hero and the mentor can take a turn for the worst. Other times, the mentor becomes the villain and betrays the hero. If utilized correctly, this can be an interesting turning point in the story.

Critical Influence

The mentor has a strong influence on the hero’s decisions, if only for a short time. Sometimes, the mentor only has a passing influence, but this influence is critical to get the hero moving and undertaking the journey ahead of him. Whether presented as a character, or not, this archetype is critical to get the story moving.


For more information, try reading:

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition


Joseph Campbell – The Hero’s Journey

Share This Post

2 comments - What do you think?
Posted by forgotmypen - April 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Categories: Character Development, Story Development   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,